Learning to love yourself in a world that keeps telling you not to...

I don't fit in. Well, not in the way the world wants me to.

I've always been heavier than my friends. I've always been 'big boned' - whatever the hell that means. I've always been lumpy in places 24-year-olds aren't meant to be lumpy yet.

There was a time where I tried to fit in so hard that I completely lost my identity. I was a clone of the 140 other girls in my year group. I had long hair. I had overdone my makeup. Kohl eyeliner was my best friend. I rolled my skirt up too high to get the attention of boys. I danced to feed my ego and gain the attention I was craving. And I ate a banana and a packet of quavers for lunch. 198 calories to keep me running until dinner time.

I was deeply, deeply unhappy in myself and I was also deeply unhappy that what I was doing wasn't working.

The reason why I thought it wasn't working was that I had some awfully rude comments made to me along the way - mainly from men. Regarding the way I looked and my size. It's damaging and hurtful. Even when it comes from a pathetic A Hole who needs to take a good look in the mirror.  Despite my best efforts to be 'skinny' I still didn't have the body of a Victoria Secrets model and I couldn't understand why.

I have had an unhealthy relationship with my body for SO long. Once puberty hit, I just couldn't figure out what or who I was. Girls around me getting ready for PE wearing C cup lacey push-up Primark bras and I'm in my M&S sports bra with a meek AAA cup if I was lucky. It's an awful time of life and it's where my unhealthy relationship with my body began - in my early teens. There's way more to it and it will definitely be added into another blog post because it's a bit of juice I tell ya!

I've fluctuated between a size 6 - size 18 and back again, in 12 years. 

When I'm content and happy in other aspects of my life weight seems to creep on. Which is no bad thing, I'd rather be happy and be three stone heavier, than miserable as sin but fitting into a size 10 dress. 

The world hasn't always liked that though. 

I've been told that I shouldn't wear a bikini, I've been told that I'm fat, I've been told that I'm not as pretty as my size 8 friends, I've been told that I'm too ugly to get a boyfriend. All comments made from men.

When was this ever ok? Well, it never has been.

There have been tears, there's been anger and there's been motivation from these comments. As much as I would love good old fashioned karma to come and slap these men around the face or chop their d*cks off. The only way they will learn how offensive they've been, is if comments like the ones above are made to a female loved one of theirs. And I don't want that to happen. Women should never be told what they should and shouldn't look like, by anyone.

Yet unfortunately, we're bombarded with images all across the internet, magazines and porn hubs that tell us that we need to look a certain way. Even in 2019 most teenage men will have a misconception of how women should look when they're in the nude, due to what they see around them. We're living in a world of Kardashian's and Jenners that make money from promoting slimming teas but also have enough money to have a plastic surgeon on speed dial.

I heard an astonishing fact the other day that if you're a size 10+, you are classed as a 'plus size' in the model world.  The average size of a woman in the UK is a size 16 and 5 foot 5, yet some of the biggest retailers in the UK fashion industry still see size 16 as the absolute maximum that they'll sell their clothes at.

But where does the future lie?

We can't change what we see, but we can change how we see it.

I look at female models and they look banging. They're six dress sizes smaller than me. When I start to panic that I won't look like that, I remind myself that I tried to be that and was incredibly unhappy and quite frankly, pretty butters!

I no longer see that as a goal or an aspiration but as a woman supporting another woman.

Plus size models. I also look at and just think good for you girl, good for you. You look amazing and you're doing you.

Rather than setting unrealistic goals for your body, learn to love what it does for you. Your body is only yours. Yes, you can make it smaller. Yes, you can make it bigger. Remember no one else is you and that is your superpower. A number on the scales and the back of your jeans doesn't define who you are as a person. It's a number that means nothing and no one needs to know.

Women are supporting women more and more and that's a massive positive that I've seen from social media. Bloggers are great because they're real people and seeing real people brings balance to your life. That's what I try to do anyway.

I show you the tummy rolls and the outtakes because life isn't full of filters.

I still struggle sometimes and I'm very good at putting my A-Level theatre hat back on to pretend everything's hunky dory. There are days when I look in the mirror and I'm disappointed that I have stretch marks. There are days when I get annoyed that I have to exercise to look the way I want to. I'm not very good at speaking when I'm upset and I bury myself away from people I love.

There's still a breed of man that would enjoy putting a woman down due to their appearance and that's not something I can be bothered to change. What I can be bothered to change is how women overcome a comment of that nature. To not stand in a club toilets balling their eyes out because of some drunk low life making a throwaway comment to make his 5ft 7 self feel taller. I've been there and it's not what I wish on anyone.

Channel the tears and the anger into something that makes you feel better. Prove them wrong - and that doesn't have to be losing two stone or gaining two stone for that matter. Body shaming is not okay in any form. Wear that cracking outfit that makes you feel amazing. Write that post. Post that selfie and let your inner confidence shine through.

Imagine yourself at a school reunion in ten years time and how good it would feel to walk in and be the girl that overcame their comments. Whether that's running your own business, doing what you love, or just having the confidence that they willingly tried to knock out of you. It doesn't have to be a school reunion, by the way, any type of situation that would give you that moment. Play it in your mind. And work your socks off for that moment.

Jumper: Next (sold out but similar here)
Skirt: Topshop 
Trainers: Topshop 

Sophie x

NOTE *I'm not saying that if you're smaller than me you're miserable. I'm saying that unfortunately, I was. 


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